Due to factors such as increased media coverage, increased awareness of environmental issues, raising pressure form environmental groups, stringent legislation and major industrial disasters (McIntosh, 1991; Butler, 1990; Tapon and Leighton, 1991; Charter, 1992; Wagner, 1997) the environment has become a mainstream issue and consequentially consumers are more concerned about their habits and the effect that these have on the environment. (Krause, 1993). According to Coddington, 1993; Davis, 1993; McDougall, 1993; Ottman, 1992a; The Roper Organization, 1990 there is evidence to suggest that consumers are increasingly choosing and avoiding products based on their environmental impact. Many organisations have responded to these changing consumer preferences through the introduction of green products. (Carson and Fyfe, 1992).
What is Green Marketing and what are Green Products?
There is a common perception among the general population that the term green marketing refers only to advertising or promoting products that possess environmental characteristics. People associate terms such as recyclable with green marketing. Green marketing, while incorporating these claims, is a broader concept. It includes not only altering the advertising of a product but also a variety of activities such as altering production processes, changing packaging and modifying products. (Polonsky, 1994)
Polonsky (1994) defines green marketing as: “…. all activities designed to generate and facilitate any exchanges intended to satisfy human needs or wants, such that the satisfaction of these needs and wants occurs, with minimal detrimental impact on the natural environment.” (Polonsky, 1994b)
An important facet of this definition is that it recognises that human consumption, by nature, derogates the natural environment and it should be the aim of green marketing to “minimise environmental harm, not necessarily eliminate it” (Polonsky, 1994, pp 2)